PHILIPPINE Olympic Committee president Jose ‘Peping’ Cojuangco said lack of funding was one of the reasons why the country put up a poor showing in the 2013 Southeast Asian Games in Myanmar.
Still on the defensive over the much-maligned seventh-place finish of the Philippine contingent in last month’s SEA Games, Cojuangco said in a radio interview that the Philippines’ budget for sports pales in comparison to allocations of neighboring countries.
“It is very clear na ang budget natin is 700 million pero ang kalaban natin, billions,” said Cojuangco.
Last year, the Philippine Sports Commission received P207 million from the national budget and some P500 million from the National Sports Development Fund, whose sources come from remittances from several agencies like the Philippine Amusement and Gaming Corporation (Pagcor) and the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO).
Cojuangco likened the contingent's situation to someone wanting to buy a luxury vehicle with a meager budget.
“They want us to bring home a Mercedes Benz when ang pera na binibigay sa atin, pang-jeep lang,” said the long-time head of the country's Olympic body.
PSC chairman Ritchie Garcia also pointed out that, among Southeast Asian countries, the Philippines is seventh in terms of sports budget.
“Nasaan tayo (nung SEA Games)? Nasa number seven din. So there is a correlation sa pondo that we are willing to spend for our athletes,” Garcia said.
Garcia has been batting for a new training center to replace the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex. But for it to prosper, a higher budget from the government is necessary.
“Kawawa rin ang mga athletes natin. They are practicing and conditioning in a surrounding that is not conducive to physical conditioning. It’s about time that we have a training center,” said Garcia.